Friday, January 30, 2015

Link of the Week: Dangers of Crossing The Political Elite in Argentina

Sorry for the delay in posting, but sometimes life gets in the way, you know?

Anyway, this link of the week comes from an article from Haaretz, written by the journalist who broke the story in Argentina of the death of a prosecutor there ONE DAY before he was due to deliver incriminating testimony on the despot queen... er, president... of Argentina, Cristina Kirchner, and a number of other connected people (you can read more about that here).  I just thought it was an interesting example of the need to use caution when crossing your local political elite.  Speaking truth to power needs to be done and I'm glad journalists like Damian Pachter, Glenn Greenwald, Chris Hedges, and others are doing it.  I just encourage them and anyone who does the same to not assume that being a public figure, having journalist credentials, or the laws of the land will protect you from reprisal.  The bulk of the political elite here in the US usually tend to be more subtle than those in Argentina, but they would still not hesitate to bury you forever if you're enough of a threat and they think they can pull it off...

Why I fled Argentina after breaking the story of Alberto Nisman’s death

"In an exclusive column, Jewish journalist Damian Pachter – who first reported on the death of the special prosecutor – recounts the intimidation, the sleepless nights, the agent who stalked him and his ultimate decision to head for Israel.

By Damian Pachter     

So here they are, the craziest 48 hours of my life.

When my source gave me the scoop on Alberto Nisman’s death, I was writing a piece on the special prosecutor’s accusations against President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, her (Jewish) Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman, two pro-Iran “social activists” and parliamentarian Andrés Larroque. I learned that Nisman had been shot dead in his home.

The vetting process wasn’t too tough because of my source’s incredible attention to detail. His name will never be revealed.

Two things stood in my mind: my source’s safety and people’s right to know what happened that day, though not necessarily in that order.

Of course, for both speed and the contagion effect, Twitter was the way to go. The information was so solid I never doubted my source, despite my one or two colleagues who doubted me because I only had 420 Twitter followers — a number now eclipsing 10,000.

As the night went on, journalists contacted me in order to get the news from me even more directly. The first to do so was Gabriel Bracesco.

Once I tweeted that Nisman had died, hundreds of people quickly retweeted the news and started following me. That was my first of many sleepless days.

“You just broke the best story in decades,” lots of people said. “You’re crazy,” was another take. Either way, nobody questioned that the situation was very grave.

The following days were marked by a government trying to create an official story. First, the head of state suggested a “suicide hypothesis,” then a mysterious murder. They of course were not to blame. In anything.

That week I received several messages from one of my oldest and best sources. He urged me to visit him, but in those crazy days I underestimated his proposal.

On Friday I was working at the Buenos Aires newsroom when a colleague from the BBC urged me to look at the state news agency’s story on Nisman’s death. The piece had some serious typos but the message was even stranger: The agency quoted a supposed tweet of mine that I never wrote.

I cursed in anger, adding amid the profanity: “I’ll tweet this and then they’ll see.” But I waited a few minutes to cool down and realized that this tweet was a kind of coded message.

So I bounced it off my friend, who said: “Get out now and go to Retiro,” Buenos Aires’ central bus station. “And come visit me. You have to leave the city.” It was around 8:30 P.M.

I was very lucky: When I arrived a bus would be leaving in two minutes. Where that bus was going I’ll never reveal either."

Read the rest here.

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